‘Twas the night before Christmas and all I could see
Was the sad little thing from our back forty.
With branches so sparse and a top so bare
I worried St. Nicholas would pass by without care.
The children just didn’t know what they’d done
When they’d pointed and said that this was the one.
“We can buy one,” we said, “from just down the street.”
But, no, they insisted this couldn’t be beat.
Just one string of lights, that’s all that it took
At the weight of that string, the branches they shook.
The star was too big, it resisted our tries
So we had to secure it with some cable ties.
We put a dowel up the back, to help it be tough.
“It’ll be fine,” I said, “once we light the thing up.”
But the ornaments of paper and glitter and glue,
Though they weigh nearly nothing, they bent it in two.
Over the weeks, it’s grown even sadder
I worry that Santa will know what’s the matter.
“Those people,” he’ll say, “Are just much too cheap.”
And this poor little tree will make the man weep.
As dry leaves that before the wild hurricane fly,
So do the needles fall right into your eye.
And the garland, red yarn, that I knit with love
Doesn’t hide the shower of greenery that comes from above.
And yet I hope that when I hear on the roof
The prancing and pawing of each little hoof,
The tree will still be standing, despite its sad story,
To meet Mr. Santa in all of his glory.
He’ll be shiny and clean, a regular Pinterest elf
His outfit so pressed it belongs on a shelf.
The bundle of toys that he flings on his back
Will be in rare merino wool, an avant garde sack.
When he sees our poor tree, our sad little sapling,
I wonder how hard his knee he’ll be slapping.
“What’s with that thing?” he’ll wonder. “That’s not worth a dime.
That’s not part of the approved Christmas line.”
“Where’s the fullness? The glamour? The matched ornaments?
The branches are weak and the top is all bent.
Why would you pick this said little tree
When the Boy Scouts were selling them for what? Thirty?”
And Santa will turn and away he will go
To prettier homes with trees they can show.
No Charlie Brown trees for this Santa this year.
His visions and plans aren’t being met here.
But maybe our Santa is grubby and merry
With sooty black cheeks and a nose like a cherry.
He’ll see our tree, like his long ago.
He’ll see glitter ornaments and then he will know.
This house, it has kids, they like art, they like craft
They like a tree best when it comes from out back.
And those branches, so bent and so brief
Still work just fine to put presents underneath.
This Santa doesn’t worry, he likes Charlie Brown.
He’s not trying to keep up with the people in town.
He’ll give us our stuff and he’ll do it all chortle-y
Because trees are the best, even from the back forty.